“More than 40% of plastic is used just once, and it’s choking our waterways. We are facing a global plastic waste crisis” says National Geographic. On 1 April PwC East Caribbean welcomed the new national ban on the importation of single-use plastics in Barbados with a weigh-in of plastic items collected by competing PwC teams. The day’s activity started with a weigh-in competition that accumulated over 290 lbs of recyclable plastics. Of that total, over 57 lbs were plastic bottles, one of the main sources of single-use plastic waste in Barbados.

In addition to the competition, every member of staff was given a reusable PwC branded bottle, as part of an initiative to eliminate the use of single-use plastic bottles in our offices in Barbados. Over 57 lbs of plastic bottles made up the total overall weight. Our staff in the St. Lucia Firm also received reusable bottles and are planning their own activity when their country’s ban comes into effect.

At a time when we have to choose between planet or plastic, we were excited about the introduction of a ban to help support the survival of our island’s environment and economy.

National Geographic said, “Less than a fifth of all plastic gets recycled globally, it’s less than 10% in the US, so we know, no matter how small the amount, every bit helps. No one knows how much un-recycled plastic waste ends up in the ocean”, but we do know that the impact is catastrophic.

“Ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by it. Some are harmed visibly—strangled by abandoned fishing nets or discarded six-pack rings.

Many more are probably harmed invisibly. Marine species of all sizes, from zooplankton to whales, now eat microplastics, the bits smaller than one-fifth of an inch across.”

National Geographic

Our marine ecosystem is fragile and we rely heavily on it here in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. By showing our support of the ban we believe we are showing our commitment to solving this important problem together.

It doesn’t stop there. The firm has signed a PwC global environment commitment, pledging:

“While driving efficiency to reduce our absolute carbon impact, we commit to offset our air travel emissions and energy consumption by 100%.” We’ve also set up a dedicated Green Team made up of staff volunteers who coordinated the activity on 1 April as one of their first actions. The team will help us deliver against the new environment commitment and drive all of our environmental activities, internally and externally.